Shopping Menswear in Vancouver
September 3, 2006 9:05 PM   Subscribe

Recommendations for places to buy good quality, reasonably-priced men's clothing in Vancouver?

I haven't bought any clothes in Vancouver in about 15 years, but I'm hoping to be back for a visit later this month and need to pick up some clothing that is too hard to find in big enough sizes (well within normal size range in N.America, just bigger-than-Korean-standard) in Korea, where I live. I'm looking for business-casual type stuff, for the most part, that is well-made and not exorbitantly priced. Any tips or suggestions or warnings?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken to Shopping (15 answers total)
There's a Winners in Lansdowne Centre, you know what Winners is, right?
posted by furtive at 9:35 PM on September 3, 2006

What's your price range?

Are you talking $20 shirts, $100 shirts, or $200-500 pants?

I'm kind of surprised that you haven't looked into custom-taylored clothes in Korea (or a weekend trip to China).
posted by porpoise at 9:43 PM on September 3, 2006

Response by poster: you know what Winners is, right?

No, I don't. Assume I know nothing about clothing shopping in Canada, and you'll be close enough to the truth. Chain stores are fine, if their stuff is reasonably well-made.

Are you talking $20 shirts, $100 shirts, or $200-500 pants?

The first seems too cheap (I'm guessing), and there's no way on earth I'd pay $100 for a shirt or $200-$500 for a pair of pants. If that's reasonably-priced these days (what I was asking about), then I won't be buying much of anything, I guess.

I'm kind of surprised that you haven't looked into custom-taylored clothes in Korea

I have my business shirts made here in Korea for about $40 a pop. It's everything else I'm looking at buying.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:50 PM on September 3, 2006

Quality and stylish clothing isn't at a particularly cheap price in Vancouver.

I've gotten $200 suits from Moores that were decent, and they have business casual clothing, too. The quality is generally robust (I have a sweater-like shirt I bought from them maybe 12 years ago and I still wear it regularly) but the styling might not be the best/latest. Moores should have a good selection of larger-sized clothing. Otherwise, perhaps visit Metrotown; imported clothing from Hong Kong (though it'd probably be cheaper if you made a trip to HK from Korea and just stocked up on clothes).

If you're familiar with Sears or The Hudson Bay Company, Winners is a few notches below that in price and perhaps style (I don't know about the quality) but better than the Army Navy. About on par with Zellers, perhaps a little better. I'd say Winners is closer to Target and Zellers to Wallmart. Depends, though.
posted by porpoise at 10:04 PM on September 3, 2006

Meta-answer: You might get good results on the Ask Andy About Clothes Forum, my go-to resource on anything sartorial these days.
posted by mendel at 10:10 PM on September 3, 2006

Response by poster: Quality and stylish clothing isn't at a particularly cheap price in Vancouver.

Thus, I ask for tips and suggestions.

I'd say Winners is closer to Target and Zellers to Wallmart. Depends, though.

I'm sorry, I don't understand what any of that means, other than recognizing some of the names. Are those places to avoid if I want to try and strike a happy quality/price balance?

I've been out of Canada for two decades, but I do remember Sears and the Hudson's Bay Company from childhood. My feeling back then was that was where your dad bought clothes (or rather, your mom bought clothes for your dad), if your dad was the kind of guy who didn't really care what he wore. Is that no longer the case?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:19 PM on September 3, 2006

As an American who just went to Vancouver and shopped at Winners: it seemed to be mostly targeted at the bargain-shopping college student segment. They had, for instance, some shirts from American Eagle, which isn't neccesarily bad, but not top-notch quality and certainly none of it is business casual (they would qualify as "$20 shirts"). I saw some decent deals on accessories (socks, ties, etc) and their women's shoe department seemed to be nice (my girlfriend bought some shoes there), but I wasn't terribly impressed by anything in particular.

This could be an inaccurate assesment - I don't know - but it's what I gathered from half an hour there.
posted by rossination at 10:39 PM on September 3, 2006

Mark's Work Wearhouse is good for the low end of business casual, as well as basics like socks and underwear (speaking as a size 12, I imagine large socks are impossible to find in Korea). Mall chain stores lie Eddie Bauer have higher quality at reasonable prices if it's on sale. I strongly recommend the Eddie Bauer Wrinkle-resistant shirts, even though they can be as much as $75 each.
Failing that, the Bay has a fair bit of business casual, though they never put the designer labels on sale.

I agree that Winners probably isn't appropriate: they seem to sell remaindered clothing which can be of excellent designer-label quality, but a lot of it is trendy stuff past its sell-by date, or just crap. You can find good stuff there for cheap but you have to love shopping to do it.
posted by cardboard at 6:30 AM on September 4, 2006

Best answer: Ok stavros, here's some stuff to work with, based on my own shopping experiences and with linky goodness to give you a better idea:

Avoid Old Navy unless your a teenager or need to pick up a pair of shorts or a stripped casual polo shirt or other beachware.

Avoid the Gap unless you want to look like someone who appears in a Gap commercial. Good place for pants and jeans and the occasional sweater.

Le Chateau is a Canadian clothing store, if you're slightly modish or gothish you'll love the black pants there, clothes aren't too expensive but lots of synthetic materials and stuff rarely lasts more than a season. Probably not your thing but worth knowing about.

Mexx is a popular place for stylish clothes, it ranges from the trendy clubbish to business casual to styling suites. Quality varies...there's always nice detail but i've had some shirts that frayed after two dry cleanings and other pants that have lasted years. More than one of my friends bought their suites for my wedding ath Mexx, so definitely sounds like it's something you want to check out.

Club Monaco is another Canadian store, nice clothes there, I'd say 3/4 of my shirts are from there and more than one pair of pants. Along the same line as Mexx but a bit more conservative yet trendy. They also tend to have nice sweaters there. You won't be able to get a suite there, but you can get a jacket or other stuff there.

Tristan-America might also have what you want.

H&M: Hmm..they haven't gone further west than Windsor yet.

Matinique products are very stylish, and a bit more upscale, you can find them in the Hills of Kerrisdale area.

For just plain old suites the two classics are Moores and Tip Top Tailors although if you check out The Bay you'll find more brand name suites.

Hope that's of help. I'm sure someone from Vancouver can point you to similar stores based on what you like of the ones I've mentioned.
posted by furtive at 6:51 AM on September 4, 2006

Best answer: Oh, and if you want to save money on shoes or jeans, that's where Winners is really useful.
posted by furtive at 6:52 AM on September 4, 2006

Just remembered Montreal based Bedo ... good business casual with style there, at least 3 locations in Vancouver.
posted by furtive at 6:57 AM on September 4, 2006

Honestly? I suggest renting a car, driving southbound, and shopping in the Excited States of America. The outlet mall in Marysville has a wide variety of good choices at prices that can be quite reasonable.
posted by crazycanuck at 8:56 AM on September 4, 2006

Best answer: Just go to Robson Street first - there's an Eddie Bauer, Club Monaco, Banana Republic, Boys' Co., Roots (good quality shirts, actually), Emile Klein (upper end of things, but maybe a nice shirt or tie), Zara (not the best quality but stylish and pretty cheap), The Bay, Matinique and a few others that I'm forgetting.

Pacific Center (the mall) is right there too, with Holt Renfrew (check out the sales there - gorgeous but expensive, maybe worth it for an outer coat or nice sweater), Banana Republic, Tristan & America, RW & Co., Harry Rosen ("menswear" - definitely good quality though, but stay away from the pleated pants and weird woven sweaters. But the shirts, plain slacks and sweaters are good), Hugo Boss and Top Top Tailors.

Then if you still have money, time and energy, call me to come shopping too! Just kidding, head over to Metrotown - kind of a more Asian/European assortment of clothes. Hell, maybe you want to start there? They have INC, Mens Club, Stockhomme and a bunch of others.

Oakridge has a Tommy Bahama's, which is kind of 'tropical' but the plain shirts are simple and do last for a long time and good in warmer weather.

I actually wouldn't go to outlet stores anymore. Most brands create their own "outlet brand" so while you get the benefit that it's not just the unsold remnants from the regular stores, it's a) not a great deal, and b) not as stylish or well made, usually. It's fine for odds and ends, and of course you'll find something there, but getting coherent outfits will be easier on Robston or in a first-run store.

If you want a menswear standalone store, I know that the Mensroom in West Van (across the bridge :-) will help you put together several outfits using mix and match pieces, and it's small and not hurried, so they'll be able to talk with you. The staff tends to be professional salesmen rather than kids in the mall, so they are a bit more patient and helpful. But maybe too stiffling for your tastes -- you can always pop in to see if it suits you.
posted by fionab at 10:26 AM on September 4, 2006

Best answer: if your dad was the kind of guy who didn't really care what he wore. Is that no longer the case?

Both The Bay and Sears have been trying to upsell themselves recently. Zellers, Wallmart, and Target tend to be lower-middle, lower-class.

furtive's list is a great breakdown, but most of the places listed are more the $100 shirts and $200 pants variety.

I do like Hills, though - they're split between trendy kids clothes and business casual. It's unfortunate that they also stock the "distressed" look which I abhore.

There's an upscale men's clothing store a couple of storefronts down from Hills; they're having a pretty highly discounted sale right now.
posted by porpoise at 11:59 AM on September 4, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone. I'll be printing this out for downtown wandering reference when I'm there!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:15 PM on September 4, 2006

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